“The moment the first bit of paint hit my dress I was free.”
Shelby Swink, a 23-year-old from Memphis, was planning on marrying the love of her lift this past November, after getting engaged in March to her college boyfriend whom she met back in 2011. When her ex-fiancé told her a week before their wedding that he did not love her and no longer wanted to get married, Shelby’s dreams “of marrying and having kids with what I thought was the man I would spend the rest of my life with vanished.”
Shelby and her photographer discussed the idea of having a “trash the dress” photoshoot. Where Shelby, and anyone else she wanted to participate, would have a rebellious afternoon of ruining her wedding dress.
Shelby’s story has taken off on social media and the photos have gone viral. MANY news stations, popular websites, and TV shows have picked up her story. Her Facebook is flooded with different articles and how this decision has made a difference for others.
“At first it sounded crazy, but after really thinking about it, I knew that it was the perfect thing for me. After all, it was just a dress, a material item.”
Surprisingly, her mother who paid for the dress was very supportive of Shelby’s decision to trash the dress. Swink’s dad even brought cigars and champagne to celebrate. Her bridesmaids were just as excited as Shelby.
“November 1 was supposed to be a fun and happy day surrounded by friends and family who loved me. I decided that I would not let my ex-fiancé’s mistake of letting me go take that away from me.”
Her wedding dress is on display at a local bridal shop in Memphis, Tennessee. While on display, a portion of the proceeds from each dress purchased will be donated to the Be Free Revolution.
Shelby mention if she could say one last thing to her ex it would be “Thank you for sparing me greater pain and loss down the road. Thank you for pushing me to realize my own strength…Thank you for teaching me that no one can take away my happiness. Thank you for letting me go so I can one day experience true reciprocated love. THANK YOU!”
And the middle finger is crucial too.
Most of her fame has been completely unexpected for her, but she has great advice for anyone who connects with her story, “Everything happens for a reason and when life gives you something you can’t handle, just face it head-on.”
[Photo credit: Elizabeth Hoard Photography]